(Closed) Alterations by an independent seamstress – questions!

posted 7 years ago in Dress
Post # 3
3941 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

My seamstress stored, steamed and gave me an exact price of services when I went in for my first fitting.  I went in three times. 

But this is all something you could ask the seamstress as well, because I’m sure they all differ.

Post # 4
45 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

I am curious about this as well!

Post # 5
628 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Sunnybrook:  I agree that they will likely all differ. I had a friend who went to a seamstress ‘shop’, had multiple fittings, at the end found out that they would not steam or press the dress, had to go to a second seamstress to get final fittings done and steamed/pressed. I suggest being very upfront and finding out right away how the seamstress plans to proceed and perhaps making sure you have something in writing.

I am personally using an independent seamstress who works from home, does not charge a fee to look at/estimate work, and gives a price upfront as well as a price of what might happen. She has done a lot of work for me and so is well trusted.

Post # 6
3092 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Where working with an independent seamstress…we’ve had many more than 3 fittings so far…she is very meticulous. 

I have no idea what she is charging…but she reassures it’s under/within our budget.

Post # 7
5493 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

I went to a seamstress that specializes in wedding and formal gowns.  She stored my dress and then steamed it.  I had multiple fittings, (I think about 4).  She gave me the price up front and even made my veil for me.

Post # 9
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I just had my first fitting with an independent seamstress today! I bought a dress at a resale shop, so it was quite large and had some gentle use (missing button and beads). She had great reviews online, so I felt excited about bringing my dress in to her today. She’s especially happy to be working on my dress right now, since the winter is a slow(er) season for her before everyone starts coming in with their dresses.

Pretty much, I’m just having the basics done: taking it in, changing straight neck to sweetheart neck, inserting bra cups, and a 3-point bustle. I’m going back to the shop in 4 weeks to have it fitted again, and she asked me to bring my petticoat and shoes (and if I were to have shapewear) this time. We may have to do another fitting after that, but I think my weight will be pretty constant, so I’m not anticipating it. In total, it’ll cost $120, plus a bit more if we end up having to hem the bottom.

I didn’t ask about pressing or cleaning services because I’ll have to ship the dress to my hometown, so I’ll need to take care of it there. I’m really excited about working with her, and I think the pricing and time are an amazing deal. Also, she’s making my bridesmaids dresses =)

Post # 10
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Ugh, this is something I wish I knew more about before I started this process.


My dress was purchased from a shop that doesn’t do in-house alterations, but the shop was far away anyway, so I would have had to bring it somewhere local for alterations.

I found a seamstress that had great reviews, so I called her back in November to ask her when I should bring the dress in for the first fitting in relation to my wedding, etc.  

I went in last weekend, which was probably about 10 weeks out from the wedding.  I was a little apprehensive, because I couldn’t figure out how or why I should be going in so early, especially if I’m losing weight.  

Anyway, the dress needs to be taken in a couple of sizes and bustled.  No hemming.  Price? $500.  OH, and I find out after the fact that I need to take it somewhere else to be steamed.

I’m an idiot.  I should have just taken it to a bridal shop and had everything taken care of there.  


So, ask a lot of questions.

Post # 12
4438 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@Sunnybrook:  My boutique didn’t do alterations so I also had to find an independent seamstress.  

I didn’t have multiple fittings because my dress was a corset, so easily adjustable and I only needed a bustle.

I stored my dress until taking it to them and they had it about a month while working on it.

My seamstress did NOT do a general prep, which was fine because I took it home several months before the wedding so it would have needed to have it pressed again anyway!

Being charged for an estimate probably depends on your area, it is NOT common in mine!

My boutique was able to refer me to a seamstress that they recommended and she was great – can yours do the same?

Post # 13
898 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I ended up using Yelp to find a seamstress for my wedding gown and went with a woman who owns a small, independent bridal store here AND does the alterations at her shop.

So, even though I didn’t buy my dress there, I called and asked if she’d do my alterations and she said to bring it in.  She was AMAZING, since she works exclusively on weddings gowns, and her prices were great, too, because she doesn’t make her money from alterations, she makes them from selling wedding dresses.

To have my dresses cap sleeves repositioned and shortened, have the bustle put in, to have the waist taken in and the hips let out 1/2 inch, it cost me only $200 total!  I was amazed.  She also altered my reception dress and had to take that sucker in from top to bottom (it was way too big when it came in).  She did that for only $80, and it was a very intricate chiffon dress with asymmetrical detailing.

Post # 14
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@Sunnybrook:  i didn’t think it was complicated at first, but it does have a built-in corset, so I guess that needs to be taken in too.


Here’s a picture: 

Post # 15
865 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I work at a wedding salon and when people can’t do alterations with our seamstress, we recommend they start looking for another seamstress by calling local bridal shops. Often, you don’t have to have bought your dress with a shop to use their seamstress. Before agreeing to do work with a seamstress, ask how many wedding gowns she’s worked on; you want the number to be more than 50! Also, make sure whoever you meet is going to be working on your gown, and not giving the work to an apprentice or assistant. 

Lots of seamstresses charge for quotes, but often if you use them, they’ll put that fee towards your alterations. 

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